PETALING JAYA: A crucial part of the argument behind the need for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) seems to have been taken “off the map” now, says DAP’s Yeo Bee Yin.
After viewing the public display of the ECRL at the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) headquarters, the Damansara Utama assemblyperson said only 16.7km of the Selangor portion is appearing showing the route from Gombak into Pahang, but not the important segment that connects it to Port Klang, on the west coast.
“Only the Titiwangsa range to Gombak part is shown in the display, while a big portion of the Selangor part of ECRL is left out from the public display.
“According to SPAD personnel, the ‘missing link’ from Gombak to Port Klang, which is at least another 60km, will be in the second phase of the project,” Yeo said in a statement released today.
Yeo had pointed to how the government and supporters of the ECRL had argued that the RM55 billion ECRL project would be a game changer by connecting ports on the east and west coast, namely Kuantan and Port Klang.
Even Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai had told the Dewan Rakyat last November, when wrapping up his ministry’s 2017 Budget debate, that the ECRL “will be used to ferry passengers and cargo from Kuantan Port to Port Klang”.
“They said that this could alter regional trade routes with the new link enabling exporters to bypass Singapore to reach their respective destinations.
“Even Singapore daily, The Straits Times quoted Malaysian government planners as saying that ‘the priority will be placed on the construction of the 250km section that will connect Kuantan with Port Klang. When completed, the ECRL would become a major land bridge for trade in and out of Asia.’, Yeo said, questioning the omission of the route between Port Klang and Gombak, if the link to the west coast port was indeed very important.
She also questioned if there was an agenda by Putrajaya in leaving the Pakatan Harapan-led Selangor government from the decision-making process.
“Are they going push down our throat whatever their plan is at a later date? Is the federal government trying to hide something about the project?”
With the ECRL costing a reported RM55 billion, Yeo said it was possible that around 1,000 pieces of land would need to be acquired once the alignment in Selangor is finalised.
“It will give a lot of economical and social impact to the people of Selangor. Hence, the state government and Selangorians deserve to be better informed about the project,” she said.